The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord‘s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. Jeremiah 7:1-7 ESV
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. Psalm 122:6-9 ESV
Have you ever seen a house with a horseshoe nailed above the door? A horseshoe above the door of a house is supposed to bring good luck and protection from harm to all the people who live in that house. There are many reasons this idea might have gotten started, but one story is about a blacksmith named Dunstan. One day when Dunstan was at work, the devil came into his shop with his horse and ordered Dunstan to put a new horseshoe on one of his horse’s feet. But Dunstan tricked the devil, and he nailed a horseshoe on the devil’s foot instead! The devil screamed in pain and begged Dunstan to take the horseshoe off of him. Dunstan agreed to do this if the devil would promise never to go into a house with a horseshoe hanging above the door, and the devil promised. This is a story that some people have told to explain why a horseshoe is good luck. It’s only a story, and a horseshoe won’t really keep away the devil or protect anyone.
The people in Jeremiah’s time thought that they had protection from evil and harm because their capital city of Jerusalem had the temple of the Lord. They thought it didn’t matter how they lived or whether they worshiped the true God or false gods. As long as they had the temple of the Lord, they thought God would protect their city and their country. But Jeremiah warned the people that this wasn’t true. He told them that the temple wasn’t a good luck charm. God was looking for his people to follow his ways. He wanted them to stop worshiping false gods instead of him, and to take care of the foreigners who were living with them, as well as the widows and the children without fathers. They were to stop hurting innocent people and letting them be killed through violence or injustice. If they continued to turn against God and his ways, then they couldn’t expect the temple to help or protect them, but turning back to the Lord would bring them his help and blessing.
We also hope for God’s help and blessing, but we don’t always follow God’s ways. We have turned against him in sin and haven’t cared about the people that God loves who especially need our help and care. But God sent Jesus to be our Savior and to bring us back to our Heavenly Father. Jesus died on the cross to win the forgiveness of all our sins, and because of Jesus we can be sure that we have God’s care and goodness. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us trust in his forgiveness and to follow his ways every day.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus, our Savior, and for your blessing and help. Please help us to follow your ways every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.